Grass pollen is the main culprit when it comes to hay fever, with 95 percent of hay fever sufferers being affected by it. Leading airborne allergens expert and creator of the HayMax allergen barrier balm, Max Wiseberg is predicting the worst for hay fever sufferers this week, with grass pollen counts predicted to go sky high. He has predicted huge clouds of pollen engulfing London and much of England and Wales, causing misery for the millions of sufferers across the country. Express.co.uk talks you through the symptoms of hay fever and how to cope.
Hay fever symptoms
Symptoms of hay fever include:
• sneezing and coughing
• a runny or blocked nose
• itchy, red or watery eyes
• itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
• loss of smell
• pain around your temples and forehead
• feeling tired
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Can hay fever make you feel breathless?
Most people won’t feel breathless from hay fever, unless it triggers asthma.
If you have asthma and hay fever, you might:
• have a tight feeling in your chest
• be short of breath
• wheeze and cough
How can hay fever affect your breathing?
Again, hay fever won’t affect your breathing, unless you have asthma.
A staggering 80 percent of asthma sufferers say hay fever triggers their asthma symptoms.
Asthma sufferers already have inflamed airways, and hay fever causes them to swell up even more. This leaves you breathless.
For many asthma sufferers, the release of histamine caused by hay fever will increase symptoms.
This is why pollen can increase asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing or wheezing.
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What is the difference between hay fever symptoms and coronavirus symptoms?
Mr Wiseberg said: “Since hay fever symptoms are easily confused with coronavirus symptoms I have devised a handy guide to easily compare the symptoms of each.”
A fever or a temperature over 37.8 c is common among COVID-19 sufferers, but– despite its name– you won’t have a fever if you have hay fever.
You will sneeze and have itchy eyes with hay fever, but not with coronavirus.
A cough is a common symptom of COVID-19, and you may find yourself coughing with hay fever too. However, a COVID cough is new and continuous, whereas a hay fever cough is usually dry.
You will be able to distinguish between a coronavirus sore throat and a hay fever sore throat, because a hay fever sore throat will be itchy rather than sore.
A loss or change in sense of smell or taste is not an indicator of coronavirus on its own, but it sometimes accompanies other symptoms.
The same is true for hay fever, but this symptom of coronavirus is often sudden and complete.
In both conditions, you may find yourself suffering from headaches and fatigue.
You may experiencing diarrhoea with coronavirus, but not hay fever.
How to treat hay fever
There is no cure for hay fever and you can’t prevent it, but the the NHS website says you can do the following things to ease hay fever symptoms:
- put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
- shower and change your clothes after you have been outside to wash pollen off
- stay indoors whenever possible
- keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
- vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
- buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter
- do not cut grass or walk on grass
- do not spend too much time outside
- do not keep fresh flowers in the house
- do not smoke or be around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse
- do not dry clothes outside – they can catch pollen
- do not let pets into the house if possible – they can carry pollen indoors
Mr Wiseberg added a few more tips to this list that you may not have come across before.
He said: “Help prevent pollen getting in your body in the first place. Allergen barrier balms stop allergens from entering the body through the nose.
HayMax organic drug-free allergen barrier balm has been proven to trap over a third of pollen before it enters the body , and is especially useful as it’s also suitable for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women.”
You could also switch out wild-pollinated plants in your garden for some new insect pollinated plants.
He explained: “Create a low allergy garden by avoiding planting wind-pollinated plants in your garden or balcony, and instead go for insect pollinated ones, which also make a more insect-friendly garden.
“Here are a few suggestions for choices of plants that are either are insect pollinated or produce low levels of pollen: Antirrhinum, Begonia, Camellia sinensis, Clematis, Delphinium, Digitalis, Geranium, Lobelia and Nigella.”
Changing your diet may also help you to keep hay fever at bay.
Mr Wiseberg said: “Some foods contain a natural antihistamine called quercetin such as capers, red onions and watercress, which can help reduce hay fever symptoms by blocking the effects of histamines.
“Combine with pineapple, as it contains bromelain, which helps the body to absorb quercetin.
“Cooking a very hot curry can actually help your hay fever, so go heavy on the spices.
“Turmeric, an orange-yellow spice, widely used in curries and South Asian cuisine, is believed to reduce inflammation caused by the enzyme phospholipase A2, which is provoked into action by pollen in your system.”
Sex is another thing that could reduce your symptoms. He added: “Having lots of sex can help your hay fever! At the point of orgasm the sympathetic nervous system constricts blood vessels across the body and an Iranian neurologist has suggested that this could help with hay fever.
“What could be a more pleasant way to deal with hay fever than that? Although there may be some practical issues around timing and locations!”
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